A 30-year-old Silver Spring man, Kevin Heiting was arrested after he solicited explicit child pornographic photos. Heiting confessed and admitted to the photography, collecting and distributing of the child videos and images in hopes of giving a plea that would lead to his release. However, judge Paula Xinis sentenced him to 20 years imprisonment with an extended lifetime supervision after his release. Federal police from Swiss gave an alert to FBI to dig deep on a suspect who was trusted to circulate teenage pornography through a dark web site based in Switzerland. Federal agents had a thorough investigation in May 2016, and Heiting was found guilty.
The FBI seized two laptops, one iPhone, five hard drives and a tower computer. One of the hard drives had well over 17,000 videos and 5,000 images ranging from files of teenagers, infants, and toddlers all categorized in folders. The computer program based on file sharing showed that Heiting had already shared and received at least 100,000 child pornographic files within a period of seven months. “A great number of users had connected and downloaded files from Heiting’s computer,” wrote the prosecutor.
According to a criminal complaint that was filed, Maryland court had in its record an address that belonged to Heiting. The address was recorded as Vierling road which was near the Intercounty Connector.
It is said that in August 2016, three months down the line after FBI had searched Heiting’s residence, court documents highlighted that he had bought an additional laptop. He had carried with him that new laptop from Maryland and on his return, it had been evident that he had used the laptop to download and share child pornography. Furthermore, court documents stated that Heiting used the dark web to unanimously chat with a 14-year-old boy convincing him to share his nude explicit images. He had also confessed in that conversation to have collected child pornography since he was nine years old.
In August 2016, Heiting was charged with federal child pornography possession but released before the trial with a condition to not possess any internet-capable devices.
It was then in February that authorities discovered that Heiting had hidden some of the internet devices in his air purifier. These devices included a laptop, two hard drives, and three usb thumb drives. He was able to acquire a dark web application and a file sharing program. Since Heiting had decided to disobey the law, he had been charged with possession, production, and transportation of child pornography.
Heiting will be ordered to pay the people affected and he will need to register as a sex offender in addition to the sentence charged. The hearing has been scheduled in June.
Child pornography exploits children for sexual stimulation. It is a global issue and the U.S. is at its center for child abuse content in the world. The expansion of the internet and advanced digital technology lies parallel to the explosion of the child pornography market. Most of the child pornographies are distributed through a hidden URL making it hard for the authorities to trace the criminals on the internet. According to federal law, the methods many offenders use to evade law enforcement detention have also become increasingly sophisticated. Purveyors of child pornography continue to use various encryption techniques and unanimous network on the dark web attempting to hide their collection of illicit child abuse. In the recent years, the authorities have been able to trace child pornographic criminals with the help of internet service providers. The internet protocol has successfully traced a 23-year-old New Orleans man, a William and Mary student, and now Kevin Heiting among others. The law states that child pornography is an offense punishable by 15-20 years in prison.